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Good news if you’re installing a conservatory or double glazing

By Owe Carter

Let’s not beat around the bush – traditionally the double-glazing and conservatory industry has an iffy reputation. This isn’t surprising, as the area has gone largely unregulated until recently. However, the formation of the Double Glazing & Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS) should hopefully take great strides in cleaning up an industry beset with cowboys.

Many consumers have fallen foul of aggressive tactics by unscrupulous double glazing or conservatory salesmen. And being pushed into a deal all too often leads to shoddy workmanship, with no recourse available for the hapless buyer.

How can DGCOS help?

Firstly, the DGCOS will vet any workmen wishing to join the scheme to ensure they’re honest, competent and reliable. As long as they remain members, then their performance will be constantly monitored. This is obviously desirable, as it will sort the professional installers from any dodgy fly-by-night workers.

If your contractor is accredited by the DGCOS scheme, then numerous safeguards will be ensured. These include:

  • Protection of your deposit. Your deposit is protected up to £10,000, as long as it doesn’t exceed 25 per cent of the full contract value
  • Ten-year guarantee. Any installations will come with a comprehensive ten-year guarantee. This is backed by an insurance policy in case the contractors go out of business during that time.
  • Free advice and services. The DGCOS advice line is free to use. And if needs be, the service will provide you with professional mediators in the event of a dispute, and independent inspectors to verify the work is of a suitable standard. Any arbitration made by the DGCOS is mandatory and legally binding.

All of this is brilliant news, as it essentially guarantees that work will be done properly, and there will be recourse for the consumer if it isn’t.

So what should I do if I wish to contract someone to install double glazing or a conservatory?

Check that the contractor is DGCOS accredited. You can verify a member’s credentials by calling DGCOS on 0845 053 8975. If you don’t already have someone in mind, you can search for an accredited installer in your area on the DGCOS site.

What about other work around the house?

Keep your eyes peeled for forthcoming articles on Confused.com concerning knowing your rights, how to negotiate with tradesmen, and what other bodies exist to safeguard against shoddy work being done on your home.

And remember, if you're looking for a mortgage, Confused.com compare deals from every major UK lender, so you don’t have to!

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